Mad, Sad and Inspiring. That was 2017

At the end of 2016 I wrote that it had been a bonkers year and that we should strap ourselves in for a bumpy ride in 2017. Bloody hell, I wasn’t wrong, was I? 2016 began with the death of David Bowie. 2017, with the election of Donald Trump. It’s hard to know which is the sadder event. For the Remainers among us, things only got worse. For much of 2017, I clung to the hope that something would stop the conveyor belt; that someone would stand up and say right, now we know a lot more about this European thing, shall we have some grown up conversation and make sure we really, really, really want to do this? Or if that couldn’t happen, how about the idea that our politicians from all sides would demonstrate, hitherto unseen qualities of statesmanship, emotional intelligence, collaboration and duty to work together on what is the most important change to our economic operating environment since we joined the European Union in 1973. No chance. Pigs really will fly before that ever happens.

Enough of this! There’s been stuff to be proud of too. Here are some of the things that made me smile, professionally and personally:

  1. Awaken Communications turning 5 years old. Who would have thought.
  2. The faces on those delegates who attended the Emergenetics workshops we ran at the end of spring, when they realised just how unerringly accurate their profiles were. Heightened self-awareness is a fine starting point for greater team collaboration.
  3. Working on the comms programme for the new Club Wembley membership scheme. Still one of the best stadiums in the world.
  4. Working on the comms programme for TopTracer with World of Golf London and being part of a story that is pushing back the decline in golf participation
  5. Taking off my helmet having just experienced iFLY Indoor Skydiving’s all new 360 Virtual Reality experience. It was craaaaazy good.
  6. An excruciatingly good amount of talent at the Edinburgh Festival. An essential experience for any marketer looking to learn how to build rapport and hold an audience. Loved it so much we have booked to go again.
  7. Watching the October sun come up on a balcony in Portugal. Total tranquillity.
  8. Discovering the Cellist Yo Yo Ma. Mesmerising. A nice change from Coldplay.
  9. The publication of my wife’s 6th romantic novel and a rights deal with a German publisher. Who knew the Germans had so much Liebe in their souls!
  10. The knitted characters that have recently appeared near the war memorial on Tring High Street. They are truly a magical addition to the Christmas decorations and a symbol of talent, fun, contribution and community. We need a bucket load more of this in 2018.

Awaken Communications 2017

Last year I also wrote about brave Ollie Gardiner, a local 12-year-old boy battling cancer, whose parents were leading a valiant fight to get him the best possible treatment for combatting this cruel disease. I had the good fortune to meet Ollie when he came to our local fireworks event to light the bonfire. I can still see his smiling face and here his chirpy voice now. He was a real inspiration. This year Ollie is no longer with us.

Thinking of Ollie reminds me that we only have a short time on this planet. It’s up to each and every one of us, to make the most of that opportunity. Just like Ollie did.

Have a happy, healthy and loving Christmas.

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